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Posts posted by sbutk

  1. On 1/30/2020 at 7:45 PM, clarc said:

    Same problem. Waiting for next responses


    Sorry I've been so lax in responding to this discussion.  I pretty much had given up on finding a fix and switched over to using Audubon's free app (though I do occasionally still miss Merlin).

    Anyway, in case you're interested in pursuing Merlin, I'll share the most recent reply I'd received from their development team (which I obviously never pursued):

    [IF YOU HAPPEN TO HAVE SUCCESS getting the Merlin app to work again, though, I'd surely be interested in hearing about it.  Thanks!]



    Merlin Support (Merlin Bird ID App)

    Oct 17, 12:12 PM EDT

    Hi Stephen,

    Sorry for the delay responding. We're still working on troubleshooting the Error -001 problem. It seems to happen any time Merlin loses connection, even if briefly--for example, if it is in the background and another process takes up most of the bandwidth, if internet is shaky, or if an antivirus software cuts off the download.

    Some people have had success with some basic download troubleshooting:
    1. Make sure you are connected to reliable internet connection
    2. Try downloading a smaller regional pack
    3. Keep Merlin in the foreground while the download and installation are taking place
    4. Keep the phone awake while the download is happening (just tap the screen occasionally).
    5. Clear the Download Manager's cache by following these instructions (from https://support.google.com/googleplay/answer/7512202?hl=en):

    Clear cache & data from Download Manager
    1. On your Android phone or tablet, open your Settings app Settings and then Apps.
    2. At the top of the screen, tap More More and then Show system.
    3. Scroll down and tap Download Manager.
    4. Tap Storage and then Clear Cache and then Clear Data.

    Hopefully one of those steps may fix the issue for you. If not, please let me know and I'll keep you posted as we explore other potential causes and try to replicate the issue on our systems.

    Happy birding,

    Merlin Bird ID Technical Support


  2. Hi. 


    This is the most appropriate forum I could find to post my query in, as it does pertain to what would at least be a *day* trip…


    Does anyone know of any online resource(s) that might be of use for keeping tabs on the degree of ice coverage on the lower Hudson River?  As a birder, I’ve come to learn over the years that increased ice coverage tends to correlate to a greater number of Bald Eagle sightings.  However, with this so far being an unusually warm winter – 50F on Christmas Day here! – I’m hoping to be able to make the most of my opportunities and decide *when* it might finally behoove me to jump in the car and make the trip.


    As always, any and all advice would be greatly appreciated!




  3. Just a little surprised that the app would be off.  They have the range being essentially a narrowing vertical band down the middle of North America.  They are shown as "Uncommon" in southern Ontario (Niagara Falls region), though, so I suppose maybe this could be even more of a "stray", haha.

    Remains to be seen whether anyone else chimes in, though.  Thanks for your swift response, though.  I do believe you've lowered my record to having a response within just 5 minutes of posting! 


    EDIT: I see now, you were agreeing with Snow Bunting.  Thanks for your second!

  4. 7 minutes ago, The Bird Nuts said:

    That is a Palm Warbler.  Note the wide, contrasting yellow supercilium, brownish cap, cheeks, and back, faint brown streaking, and malar/throat stripes.  Golden-Crowned Warblers are Central and South American birds.  Did you mean Orange-crowned Warbler?


    No, I did mean Golden-crowned.  Guess I just got over-reliant on looking for enough of a matching photo on my Audubon app and neglected to pay attention to the bird's range. 

    Thanks for setting me straight!

  5. Hi,


    Photographed these birds in my yard this afternoon.  I’ve employed both Audubon app for Android and been through my Peterson Field Guide for Eastern birds, and have yet to come across a definite match for this bird.  Best guesses are some member of the Warbler, Flycatcher, or Vireo family.  Must be a migrant species, because I don’t ever remember seeing one here in northern NJ before.  Can anyone help me ID this bird? 






    48894038248_79001e244b_c.jpgP2410820 by sbutk, on Flickr


    48894038043_13f50097d8_c.jpgP2410830 by sbutk, on Flickr


    48894572046_f1348b2b73_c.jpgP2410834 by sbutk, on Flickr

  6. Hi,


    Photographed these birds in my yard this afternoon.  Guessing they must be a migrating species, since I’ve never taken note of them before.  My best guess is they are thrushes – most likely Hermit or Swainson’s, according to my Audubon app.  Can anyone offer any opinions to help steer me in the right direction?  Birds were seen in northern NJ.






    48888182986_d023ca76a8_c.jpgP2410374 (2) by sbutk, on Flickr


    48888362342_0b7fc492eb_c.jpgP2410402 (2) by sbutk, on Flickr


    48888182571_08144e17d8_c.jpgP2410403 (2) by sbutk, on Flickr


    48888182336_be83269a43_c.jpgP2410503 (2) by sbutk, on Flickr

  7. Hi.  My suspicion is that these birds I saw in my backyard this afternoon are American Goldfinches, just perhaps not with the bright yellow [male] plumage that I’d recognize instantly.  Are these perhaps females, immature birds, or males in seasonal plumage?  Or, am I perhaps barking up the wrong tree entirely?  Would greatly appreciate if anyone could help set me straight!  Photos taken in northern NJ.






    48887649178_b18a54e74c_c.jpgP2410357 (2) by sbutk, on Flickr


    48887648878_cdf3a23239_c.jpgP2410435 (2) by sbutk, on Flickr


    48887648698_f963203688_c.jpgP2410529 (2) by sbutk, on Flickr


    48888361032_c7cbb7d50c_c.jpgP2410548 (2) by sbutk, on Flickr


    48888181461_a804f1e331_c.jpgP2410563 (2) by sbutk, on Flickr

  8. Is anyone else having this problem? 

    I used to be able to [happily] use my Merlin bird ID app for Android with no problem.  After a recent (8/31/19) forced update, however, my app is left with no bird packs installed (and thus rendered useless).  I can't manually install any selected bird apps.  And I've uninstalled/reinstalled the entire app; restarted my phone; and STILL the problem persists.

    I've already submitted my concern to the Merlin team, and they have assured me both that I'm not the only one to report this problem; and they're "working on it".  ...That was months ago.  (Yawn.)

    Wondering if any of my fellow birders has any ideas!


  9. Hi.  I’m seeking some advice with regard to my still-in-the-works trip down to Cape May later this month…

    I’ve visited multiple years in the past, typically around the Columbus Day weekend, but so far have yet to venture much beyond the hawkwatch platform.  

    This will be just an overnight, and at least [part of] one of those days will be spent at and around the hawkwatch.  Lately I’ve had my curiosity piqued for exploring more of the Cape, though - with perhaps Cape May Meadows and HigbeeBeach being areas of interest. 

    Can anyone offer any advice, tips, or insight into visiting either of those places?  What time of day is likely best?  I recently learned about the Morning Songbird Watch at Higbee, and I’m not so sure a pre-dawn visit (to catch the songbird migration in full force) is really in the cards for those in my group.  Then again, what birder wouldn’t like to maximize his chances to expand the Life List?!


    Thanks in advance, for any & all replies!  🙂



  10. Shot some photos of an unfamiliar bird in the yard this morning that I assume must be a migrant.   Shots are through a screen, so unfortunately the results are incredibly lousy.  Still, I’m wondering whether anyone might be able to offer an ID, based on size, shape or markings.  Photos are from northern NJ.  Thanks.


    48778597268_38d35b5ae4_z.jpgP2360375 (2) by sbutk, on Flickr

    48778958236_f4b752f701_z.jpgP2360374 (2) by sbutk, on Flickr

    48778958416_b070170055_z.jpgP2360373 (2) by sbutk, on Flickr

    48778958641_53f71ccc72_z.jpgP2360372 (2) by sbutk, on Flickr

    48778958781_117b02c71e_z.jpgP1360274 (2) by sbutk, on Flickr

  11. 4 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

    I'm pretty sure those are sandpipers, not gulls, but I can't be more accurate than that at the moment.  I don't think gulls have eye lines, but I've been wrong lots lately.  Either way, I'm sure someone will nail them down before I can get home and access my ID resources.


    59 minutes ago, akiley said:

    Indeed. Those are Dowitchers with their bills tucked in. Look like SB to me but any other pics?


    No.  Not that show the birds any more clearly, anyway.  I wouldn't be all that surprise if they weren't some of the same Dowitchers you and I were wrangling over in one of our previous discussions, just in different positions.

    So I will assume these guys are Short-billed Dowitchers.  They're able to "tuck in" bills that are that long?  Wow, color me impressed!  😁


    Thank you both for your help!


  12. On 9/2/2019 at 3:04 PM, akiley said:

    1) Laughing

    2) Herring

    3) Herring

    4-5) Laughing



    Hi again…


    One more sighting I’ve been curious about:  These 3 birds in the bottom of the photo [from another birder’s camera, because the same scene came out clearer than on my own] look at first like they could be juvenile Laughing Gulls.  But when I compare them to others in the photo - e.g. on the Left - these unidentified birds are smaller and lack the same black highlights on the tail.  So I’m guessing at this point that they’re probably a different species.  Any thoughts? 


    48722544121_fecb25de5b_b.jpgDSC_3005er by sbutk, on Flickr

  13. Sorry, I unwittingly convinced both of us that 02 and 03 showed the same bird.

    Here are some additional angles of the unidentified bird in 02:


    48696199017_2d7b44a936_b.jpg02a P2230473ze by sbutk, on Flickr


    48696198732_8562958d5d_b.jpg02b P2230476ze by sbutk, on Flickr



    Hoping it’s not going to turn out to be “just another gull”.  I wouldn’t think so, with that beak.


    …Then again, I’ve been known to be wrong once or twice in my life.

    (Actually, a few dozen times on this forum, alone.)

  14. Hi.  I’ve got one last set of photos here that I’m hoping to get confirmation on, all from my recent trip to Forsythe NWR in NJ.  The first shot is quite apparently another crow.  Another forum member and I are still undecided whether it looks more like an American or Fish Crow.  The next 2 shots contain a Dowitchers (I’m still leaning Long-billed) on the left in 02 and rear in 03; and what appears to me to be a Yellowlegs [type?].  03 is admittedly of terrible focus quality, but it was included here to show the color of the bird’s legs, which are hidden in the previous photo.  The remaining photos [Again, sorry for the reeds; it was a windy day] all contain a number of small birds – look like Yellowlegs again, to me – that were hanging around with the larger Glossy Ibis.  Any help, confirmations, or alternate suggestions would be most appreciated.  Thanks!



    48694442278_3893858396_b.jpg01 P2230451 g Crow_e by sbutk, on Flickr


    48694785941_80ef6596d4_b.jpg02 P2230474 g Dowitchers & Yellowlegs_e by sbutk, on Flickr


    48694785761_0feb070627_b.jpg03 P2230431 g Dowitchers & Yellowlegs_e by sbutk, on Flickr


    48694958297_08e8953bf5_b.jpg04 P2240627 by sbutk, on Flickr


    48694787061_ac5f737430_b.jpg05 P2240630 by sbutk, on Flickr


    48694957902_d721c93237_b.jpg06 P2240664 by sbutk, on Flickr


    48694443093_82b1b0b6d2_b.jpg07 P2240668 by sbutk, on Flickr


    48694442913_ae3483ab65_b.jpg08 P2240685 by sbutk, on Flickr


    48694786246_69715a615d_b.jpg09 P2240686 by sbutk, on Flickr


    48694441918_5d067f6a30_b.jpg10 P2240688e by sbutk, on Flickr


    48694785506_1a118d0851_b.jpg11 P2240690e by sbutk, on Flickr

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